Court Provides Level Playing Field: Let The Politicians Play Fair

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EDITORIAL: By Saeed Naqvi, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO, NJ: The suffocating pall settled on the nation lifted in three quick bursts last week. True, for the Karnataka election results we only had exit polls but all six results favouring the Congress can’t all be wrong. And the almighty slap the Supreme Court has administered across the face of the Lt. Governor of Delhi must make his head spin. The third upset caused by the Supreme Court was in Maharashtra where the Governor and the Speaker played foul.

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Few elected leaders have suffered humiliation at the hands of successive Lt. Governor’s quite clearly at the instance of the union government, as AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal. The Supreme Court has rewarded him for his courage, equanimity and vast funds of endurance. He kept his head when the Lt. Governor was losing his.

In his very first election to the Delhi Assembly in 2013, he came on top as the largest single party with 28 seats. A mortified Congress which had been in power for three terms, entangled AAP in a coalition. “Hum to doobe hai sanam, tumko bhi le doobenge” (I am sinking but will take you with me).

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By coalescing with the Congress, AAP would lose some of its freshness and sheen. Also, by sheer association, some of the Congress negatives would rub off on AAP, smudging its novelty. “We will keep them nailed on the coalition until they are destroyed” said Arvinder Singh Lovely, former Delhi Congress Chief. Not just Lovely, it was every Congressman, BJP functionary’s dream to reduce this Johnny-come-Lately into an incompetent, ineffective cypher.  AAP’s sudden emergence and rise was scary.

The February 2015 results jolted not just the two ruling class parties in Delhi but the entire national political spectrum. AAP was 67 of the 70 seats – an unbreakable record. AAP’s record breaking performance induced insecurities.

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The Congress hated AAP more than the BJP for having displaced it. The BJP, likewise, loathed it more than the Congress. Its social welfare policies set in a deceptively capitalist frame were a danger for BJP’s corporate backers. AAP had to be stopped – by hook or by crook.

What came in most handy to pulverize the elected government was Justice Ashok Bhushan’s 2019 split verdict. Bhushan said the “services” were totally outside the purview of the State government.

The accelerated delivery of education, Health care, water and electricity as welfare measures in double quick time unnerved the compromised political class across the board. The Lt. Governors got into action. No more brownie points for AAP, they said. Of course door to door delivery of food items would be blocked – any measure that enhances AAP’s popularity among the poor would be scuttled.

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They, AAP, must be rendered unelectable – any further. Then Punjab was taken away from the Congress. Heels were dug in deep for the Delhi Municipal Corporation but, lo and behold, AAP came up trumps once again. By the Lt. Governor’s rule book, electoral victory in the Corporation did not mean that AAP could have its Mayor. Nominated members were brought into play to wrench the Mayorship away from AAP. Scuffles broke out in the house and the Lt. Governor, like Nero, watched. Arvind Kejriwal’s list of complaints against the union government and its representative, the Lt. Governor, would be a formidable document even if he deletes such trivia as being held back from attending prestigious conferences overseas.

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One good news begets another. The Rouse Avenue Court has released on bail two persons detained in the so called Liquor license scandal. The 85 page order does not establish any financial wrong doing leave alone the alleged Rs.100 crores supposed to have been diverted by AAP for its Goa campaign.

If this is a trend setter, Kejriwal’s second in command, Manish Sisodia and Minister Satyendra Jain may soon be out on bail. Nothing has been proved against either.

Has the Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud reigned in Narendra Modi’s Ashwamedh which was freely roaming the territories to expand the Empire’s boundaries?

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The restoration of legitimate power to the National Capital Region will have far reaching consequences. Power has, after all, been restored to a party which has in record time – a decade since its inception acquired the status of a national party.

Political parties in India take time to consolidate their constituencies. AAP is an exception which is one of the reasons why other parties find it dangerous. Anchored to a pragmatic welfarism, AAP is not circumscribed by an ideology which is both an advantage and a handicap. For example the party’s chilling indifference to the fate of Muslims during the communal riots which gripped North East Delhi in 2020. This alienated the party totally from Muslims. The community was already disenchanted by the temple locks opening, announcement of Ram Rajya as policy and finally the mosque demolition – all these decisively distanced the Muslims from the Congress. Indeed the Muslim abandoned the Congress enmasse.

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Voting for the BJP was never an option. In the circumstance a relatively new force like AAP would have been well placed for the minorities had it not exposed itself as a shirker on the Muslim issue.

At a time when the Congress is averse to being seen even with a solitary Muslim on the platform because such a sight would be grist to the BJP’s polarization mill, was AAP’s indifference to the carnage justifiable as practical politics? Difficult to imagine civilized Indians degenerate into barbaric voters. Politics has been putrefied not by voters but politicians.

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The Supreme Court has by its recent judgements established, without the shadow of a doubt, that there is muscle available to uphold the constitution and the rule of law. It is the politician who must grasp the dictum that, on a matter of principle he who fights but loses shall eventually win. Prince Lazar of the battle of Kosovo and Hussain of Karbala are two admittedly superhuman examples beyond human imitation, but model heroes nevertheless.

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The Court has provided a level playing field. It is upto the politician to shift gears and play fair according to the rule book.

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Saeed Naqvi

Saeed Naqvi

Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer. He has interviewed world leaders and personalities in India and abroad, which appear in newspapers, magazines and on national television, remained editor of the World Report, a syndication service on foreign affairs, and has written for several publications, both global and Indian, including the BBC News, The Sunday Observer, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, The Indian Express, The Citizen and Outlook magazine. At the Indian Express, he started in 1977 as a Special Correspondent and eventually becoming, editor, Indian Express, Madras, (1979–1984), and Foreign Editor, The Indian Express, Delhi in 1984, and continues to writes columns and features for the paper.

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